Persecution of Christians Overseas

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:42 pm on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Conservative, Burton 2:42 pm, 18th July 2019

My hon. Friend speaks with great common sense, as always. I am very proud to represent a multicultural, multi-faith community. I have some 7,000 Muslims in my community, and they make a massive contribution to my society and it is a joy to be their Member of Parliament. He is absolutely right that we have this historical connection and historical influence with which we can do good. We can use that for the benefit of Christians, for the benefit of religious freedoms and for the benefit of democracy around the world.

In many respects, because of our history, we almost shy away from confrontation. Because of that colonial past, we are often too afraid to be seen to be interfering in the business of other independent nations. Actually, as we heard in the magnificent opening speech from my hon. Friend Chris Philp, whom I commend for securing this debate, we see that effect on a global scale, and it is only right for Britain to stand up and take its responsibility seriously.

I pay tribute to the Bishop of Truro for his brilliant, incisive work, but I hope that this is just the first step towards the Government standing up and taking religious persecution and the persecution of Christians very seriously. A bit like a stick of Blackpool rock, I want this to run through the middle of all our Foreign Office policy, aid and trade. We have the levers to change behaviour and save lives. When people are being victimised, persecuted, murdered, stabbed and bullied simply for reading the Bible and worshipping Jesus Christ, we must act. The Bible states that Christ said:

“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

I absolutely believe that this motion is an important step forward in ensuring the safety of Christians around the world.